Thursday, January 21, 2016

Maintain and clean violin bow

I have already spoken how to rosin a violin bow , but a lot of people are asking questions about cleaning the bow and violin.

As for the bow: my view is that it does not need to be cleaned .. the stick should be wiped with a cloth if rosin above. As regards the wick normally no maintenance other than the change when it no longer grip, when it is worn.

signs of wear:

  • rosin despite the wick no longer hangs
  • the wick has lost a lot of horsehair
  • the bristles are stretched and can no longer have the right tension of the bow
  • The resulting sound is so good

Some say that the wick can clean with alcohol, it seems risky to me because alcohol is very aggressive to the hair.
especially: what state is the bit to get there? there is no better change it?

Violin Cleaning
Normally a violin does not really dirty because one cares.
If dirt gets to accumulate, the rest of rosin, dirt, grease, fingerprints, etc .. can be cleaned with violin popotte prepared by a luthier.

This product is to be cleaned, should not be used daily. It has a very mild abrasive side.

By cons, some musicians spend their violin polish after each concert. the polish is a mild product that removes all traces of fingers and shines .. It is rather like oil or wax. Apply with a cloth or sponge. then we can possibly polish with a soft cloth ... Not recommended for those who do not like it shines.

Fiddle Lessons for Beginners

You can find traditional fiddle lessons given by a teacher privately or if you’re a DIY’er, you can learn to play the fiddle online with videos or with instructional books. It helps if you know what style of fiddle music you wish to play such as American (Bluegrass, Cajun, Folk…) Celtic (Irish, Scottish, Welsh…), Jazz, Canadian, Scandanavian etc. because you can find instruction specifically suited for these styles as opposed to generic lessons.

Free Online Fiddle Lessons

The Folk of the Wood has some great beginner to advance fiddle lessons which include how to hold the fiddle, parts of the fiddle and bow, how to tune your fiddle, how to learn to read music, tremolo, vibrato and other fiddle bowing techniques, scales, positions and chords, practice tips and free fiddle sheet music from beginner to advance melodies. Go here to access all lessons: Free Online Fiddle Lessons.

The Fiddle Hub offers online fiddle lessons but it requires a membership. There is a paid membership where you purchase lessons for $4 and then have unlimited use of that lesson. There is also a free membership, but you still are required to register. The free membership gives you four how to play the fiddle lessons including smooth bowing, accurate fingering, learning tunes and reading tablature. It also give you access to 3 free fiddle tune lessons, “Paddy’s Return”, “Soldiers Joy” and “Whiskey Before Breakfast”. Click here for Fiddle Hub Fiddle Lessons.

Beginner Fiddle Lesson Videos

This beginner fiddle lesson starts with tuning, finger patterns and include a quick how to play fiddle beginner tune, “Bile em Cabbage Down” using Nashville shuffle and one and two bowing:
Tuning, Finger Patterns and "Bile em Cabbage Down"

Below is another little fiddle lesson given by Casey Driessen, a Grammy nominated fiddler who often tours with different bands and quartets playing bluegrass and other acoustic styles of fiddle music. He was on tour with the Frank Vignola Quintet and stopped by Mel Bay Publications where he gave this quick lesson on bowing and double stops and how to warm up with long bowing intervals:

Beginner Fiddle Lesson on Bowing and Double Stops

If you want to find a fiddle teacher in your area, we found this website, called "Get Lessons Now" where you can choose fiddle lessons from the drop down menu, enter you zipcode and it gives you a list of local teachers. It will give the teacher’s education, awards received, lesson details, rates, hours lessons are offered and a bio/personal statement from each teacher. There is also a “send message” button so you can ask questions via email.

Related post:
how to tune a violin

Monday, January 18, 2016

Want to Learn to Play the Violin?

So you want to learn to play the violin. Where should you start? Whether you want to become a classical violinist or an Irish fiddlinist, you must have a goal when practicing. Then you can list your objectives on how to reach that goal when practicing. You can have goals that are set for a year, a month, a week and of course, for the day. This way you have some way of measuring whether or not your practice time is helping you attain your ultimate goal.

You can start small right now, such as learning to read music – today for example, learn to play an open C major scale. Or learn what notes correspond to the violin strings, what strings are G, D, A and E? Then you can set bigger goals for learning different bow techniques, or learning vibrato. W rite down your goals so that you see them everyday. Another thing that has helped me is to create a dream board. Look through magazines or on the web for photos that represent your goals and where you want to be. Perhaps it’s a picture of a violinist you admire, a famous stage or perhaps family and friends listening to someone perform for them; whatever represents what your goals are and why you want to learn to play violin.

You know what they say, practice makes perfect. So how much should you practice? As much as you can without putting too much strain on other parts of your life such as family, school or your job. It’s better to practice a little every day rather than try to jam all your practice time into one session once a week. Do not overdue it at first. You must ease your body into the practice regime. It is possible to injure yourself by repetitive strain on muscles that aren’t used to that much strain all at once. Be sure to stretch before and after, just like you would for any other sport. Start with 10 minutes a day. Slowly progress to a least 30 minutes a day when you feel comfortable doing so.

So practice every day. Do not become discouraged. You will not become a professional overnight. Do not compare your progress to others. Measure your progress by your standards. No one came out of the womb ready to play violin. Some perhaps have a natural gift to learn violin more easily, but that doesn’t mean you can become just as accomplished. In fact your rewards will be even greater when you do master a technique or piece of music because it took raw determination and hard work to attain that goal. It will come. Be patient, Grasshopper. Be positive. Negative thoughts have no place in learning violin. And there is no crying in learning violin, unless the music itself is so beautiful, it makes you weep.:)

And look forward to practicing. Do not make it become a chore that you dread. Allow yourself to have fun with it. In fact at the end of every session, make sure you allow some “fun” practice time. Try playing a piece of your favorite music, for example. And do not try to learn more advanced techniques, such as vibrato, too soon. Start with the basics and master them first. Learn to hold the violin properly. Learn to strike the bow properly. Learn to read music. Small steps first.

Fiddle vs Violin – What is the Difference?

Fiddle vs Violin - so what is the difference between fiddle and violin? Really it's more semantics that anything else, almost like tomato or tomato. A fiddle is a violin and a violin can be a fiddle. Types of music played by fiddlers include bluegrass, Cajun, country, Celtic, folk, jazz and can be distinguished by region such as American, Irish, Scottish, Mexican, Norwegian, Slovenian and Swedish fiddling, just to name a few. There's even hip-hop and alternative rock style fiddling today. Although a generalization, more fiddlers will have not been trained classically, although there are classical violinists who play the fiddle and vice-verso and there is such thing as classical music fiddling. Hey, even Itzhak Perlman has referred to his instrument as a fiddle!

What is the Difference Between the Fiddle and the Violin?
Fiddle Construction - Is there any difference bewteen the fiddle and violin as far as construction? No. They are essentially the same. Some fiddlers may make modifications to their fiddles such as using a flatter bridge. It is a minor difference that makes it easier to play double and triple stops and shuffles in addition to other rapid string movement styling. Fiddles come in all the same standard sizes as violins: 4/4 (full size), 3/4, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/10 and 1/16 (also called teeny-tiny!).
Fiddle Strings

What about strings? The sound of fiddle music is better achieved with metal strings (so some say) than gut or synthetic gut which is often used on violins. Metal strings produce more volume while synthetic will give less volume, but a softer tone for violinists. So most fiddlers will use metal strings on their fiddle, although it really comes down to your personal preference. Some people who play the fiddle will swear by metal, others by synthetic. Too harsh or too mellow? It's really up to you. You can start with metal strings and then decide later. Just know this - in order to tune easily a fiddle with metal strings, four fine tuners are required on the tailpiece to achieve the most accurate pitch. You can read and view a video, How to Tune a Violin, which includes tuning with fine tuners.
Fiddle Bow

Is there such thing as a fiddle bow? For most, a standard violin bow is used when fiddling and has traditionally been made out of wood although there are fiberglass and synthetic bows available on the market today. The parts of a fiddle bow, just like a violin bow, include the stick, pad, frog, hair and screw.

A common joke is that the difference between a fiddle and violin is price. So you want to buy a fiddle, but sell it as a violin! ;)

Hope you have enjoyed our little discussion on fiddle vs violin. If you have any questions or additional comments to add to the discussion, please add them below.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Violin Video Accolay Concerto Played by 5-Year Old

Elli Choi, a 5 year old violinist, performs the Accolay Concerto No. 1 in A Minor. Because of her diminutive size, she uses a 1/8 size violin from the Shimro Musical Instrument Company. Apparently this performance in the violin video Accolay Concerto below is the result of only one month of preparation and practice. She began to play violin when she was only 3 years old, starting in July of 2005.

Obviously, she has natural, instinctual talent. She has the Gift. But that does not mean she just picks up the violin and voila, instant mastery of a piece. I'm sure her practice regime is quite rigorous, of course induced slightly by her parents and violin teachers. Nonetheless, she will probably be very well known as she matures and becomes a world-renown violinist.
Accolay Concerto No. 1 in A Minor Violin Video by Elli Choi

People will recognize flaws in her playing. Yes, her bowing can improve. No one is perfect. She is only five after all. But appreciate her violin techniques; her vibrato, intonation, slurs and articulation. And remember, she is not using a full size violin, only 1/8! The tone, I imagine, would be even that much better with a full size violin.

There are plenty of young violin virtuoso's out there in the world. But what impresses me most about Elli Choi is her ability to express the emotion of the piece. Often children who master an instrument can perform a piece of music flawlessly, but without feelings, virtually emotionless. Expressiveness eventually comes with maturity. Children can learn to perform the technique, but you cannot teach how to perform with emotion. This must come from within. And here, Elli is letting her passion for the piece shine through to us. How amazing and beautiful it is.

Hope you have enjoy this violin video Accolay Concerto by this amazing five year old as much as I have. If you have any violin videos that I should consider adding to the site, please let me know below.

Violin Music Note: Jean Baptiste Accolay Concerto in A minor (1868). Jean Baptiste was a violinist, teacher and conductor of the Romantic period from Brussels, Germany. His Concerto is his most well-know piece and has been played by many famous violinists, including Itzhak Perlman.

Violin Teacher - How to Choose?

Considering getting a violin teacher for private violin lessons? You need to understand, if you have five violin teachers, each one of them is going to have five different opinions on how to do everything. So if you have a teacher who says, “Well, that’s not what I want you to do,” you must listen to your teacher and do as they say. Now you’re stuck learning violin their way.

There is an alternative. We recommend you consider a combination of both private lessons with a violin teacher as well as online violin lessons through violin videos. There is a method to learn violin online with videos. When you watch videos, you can perform the technique over and over again until it becomes a habit, until you master the technique. Because you do it so many times, it becomes a habit and then you can move onto the next video and start incorporating another technique. Wash, rinse, repeat. So you do it at your pace, not your teacher’s pace. Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. The famous violin teacher Shin’ichi Suzuki always said, “Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus 10,000 times creates automatic execution.” So don’t move onto learning the next technique without mastering the previous one. Knowledge plus 10,000 repetitions creates automatic execution. So you must do something so many times that you don’t have to think about it anymore.

The part of your brain called the cerebellum is responsible for muscle memory. As you program your cerebellum by performing an act over and over again, it will take over and then you don’t have to think about it. Like tying your shoes - you just do it, you don’t think about how to do it. You just know how. And the same thing applies to violin - you need to get to the point where you can just do it. That way when you’re nervous or under pressure in front of people, your training kicks in because you’ve done 10,000 repetitions and then you can do your best. Be patient, It will come. And as Yoda said, “Do or Do Not. There is No Try.” Do a little bit at a time, you will improve with each stroke. Learning to play the violin is certainly worth the effort. Don’t be in a hurry. Your skill as a violinist is a gift you give yourself that you will treasure forever.

This post inspired by R. Todd Ehle, Associate Professor of Violin at Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas. If you are a violin teacher, please feel free to post your services below in the comments.

How to Rosin a Violin Bow

Learn how to rosin a violin bow properly the first time, unlike me. I didn’t have any guidance or instructions when I got my first violin. I took my violin out of the case, grabbed the bow and began to clumsily scrape the rosin across the violin strings. I was so excited about hearing my violin for the first time. To my dismay, there was no sound. :( Perhaps I wasn’t applying enough pressure? Not the right angle? I tried and tried. No sound. Upon further inspection of my case, I found a block labeled “Rosin”. Through the process of elimination, I applied it to my bow, and low and behold, there was sound! Not good sound, but at least some sort of sound that somewhat resembled a violin note. Progress. One step at a time we move forward towards achieving master violinist! Hey, you laugh, but baby steps is better than no steps.

So for all you beginning violinists out there, this how to rosin a violin bow video is for you!
How to Rosin a Violin Bow Video Tips:

Transcribed loosely from the video: Normally when you pick out rosin from a music store, it usually is in a round, square or rectangular cake. Mine is a round rosin cake wrapped in a fine cloth. The cloth protects the rosin from drying out and becoming too hard to use. When you first get your new rosin cake, you won’t be able to get much dust from it when pressing it against your bow strings. You’ll need to take a nail file or something similar and scratch your rosin’s surface to create a rougher surface for applying to your bow. Now you can start to apply the violin rosin. You start at the frog of the bow and slowly move up and down the bow several times, depending on the type of hair that’s on your bow. Over time, you’ll begin to learn exactly how many strokes of rosin you need to apply in order to get the correct sound from your bow.

An unrosined bow will make virtually no sound (this I know from personal experience noted above ;)) and a very little rosined bow will make a very whispy type sound against the violin strings. At the other side of the spectrum, do not put apply too much rosin or you will not get a good sound either. Also be sure to reapply when needed and wipe off any excess off the bow or violin itself before putting it away. Use a soft cloth or something similar that won’t scratch the violin’s wood. Hope you’ve enjoyed this violin technique installment of how to rosin a violin bow.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How to Tune a Violin

The video below will explain how to tune a violin from a professional violinist. There are two scenarios discussed. One scenario is when you have four fine tuners on the tail piece. Scenario two has one tuner on the E string, but no fine tuners on the G, D or A strings. If you are going to use one fine tuner and no fine tuners on the tail piece, you’ll need to use synthetic core strings; perlon, gut, synthetic versions of gut is what is mostly used today. If you’re going to use the four fine tuners, typically it’s because you’re going to use a metal core strings, which means with a peg, the metal core strings are going to be able to be tuned much quicker, life will be miserable without fine tuners.

How to Tune a Violin Video

With the synthetic core strings, the core will stretch as you turn the peg and you’ll get a lot slower movement to the pitch. You therefore, can get to the center of the pitch without the aggravation you would have if you had metal strings with no fine tuners. Using the fine tuners, you can learn how to tune a violin quickly. Strike the A note on the tuner, tune your string to that note, then tune the E string to the A string, then the D to the A, then finally the G to the D.

It can be frustrating when learning to play violin, especially when your violin is out of tune. What is recommended if you’re new to violin tuning, is to get a pitch pipe or even better yet, an electronic tuner. The pitch pipe is rather simple, as all you need to do is blow into the pipe to hear all four notes. So you can get pretty close with just going back and forth, hearing the note on the pitch pipe and then matching it to your string. So if you don’t have a tuning fork and can’t hear the fifths, take the pitch pipe, one string at a time and try your best to get close to the notes.

Now for the violin that has no fine tuners on the tailpiece, you’re going to just use the pegs. Most of the time you don’t even need the pegs on a violin with the four fine tuners. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. If you do, you get it close with the pegs and then use the fine tuners to get even closer. On a violin without fine tuners, you need to get as close as you can with the pegs because you have no choice. The E string has a fine tuner, but for the most part, you can get it close, just by plucking on the strings. The pegs need to fit well to keep in tune so that when your tuning a violin with pegs, you’re not having to try so hard to get to the pitch. You can start by striking or plucking the string with your finger as you adjust the corresponding peg. A friction peg will move in a way so that if you start below the pitch by loosening the peg, and then as you go up in pitch, you’re pushing in as well - hold the scroll so you have something to push against. So push in as you go up, and if you go past the pitch, then go down again, until you match it to the pitch and then it should stay.

Now most fine tuning is done by violinists with their bow instead of plucking the strings. Use the same method described above except use your bow instead of your fingers to strike the strings as you adjust the pegs. Needless to say, this method is really difficult to do on the metal strings without the fine tuners.

So if you are learning how to tune a violin with synthetic core strings, one tuner is fine along with well fitted, well working pegs. With any metal core strings, you’ll absolutely need to use fine tuners because it is too difficult to tune without them. Also, when you’re tuning with the fine tuners, you really do that fine tuning with the bow as well, except you are using the fine tuners on the tail instead of using the pegs.

Hope this violin lesson on how to tune a violin has been helpful to you. It will become easier as you repeat the process each time, because who wants to play a violin that is not in tune?!

Learn Violin Beginner Tips

If you want to learn violin you have a few choices as far as how to learn to play the violin, whether it be classical or cajun fiddle. The obvious choice is violin lessons. But what kind of lessons? With a private violin teacher? Group violin lessons? Or did you know there were online violin lessons that you can take? And what about the Suzuki Violin School? Violin method books? And what about fiddle vs violin? The choice is a personal one. Some people would greatly benefit from private violin lessons while others would not. Perhaps a combination of private and online violin video lessons would be best? The best way to learn violin is to cater to your own learning style. You should set goals, although not too grand, in order to progress in a steady and systematic way.

There is plenty to learn such as elemental as how to read music, how to hold your violin, how to tune a violin, proper posture, how to hold your bow, first and third finger positioning. and how to rosin a violin bow. There are left hand and right hand techniques; vibrato, staccato, spicatto. There are scales, arpeggios, double stops, chords, intonation, shifting, harmonics, just to name a few. But don’t be overwhelmed. Take one small lesson and master it, no matter how long it takes before moving on to the next lesson.

Learn Violin Books

Some recommended learn violin books include Picture Yourself Playing Violin by Bridgette Seidel, Playing the Violin: An Illustrated Guide by Mark Rush, Violin Wall Chart by Martin Norgaard by Mel Bay, Mel Bay’s First Lessons Violin by Craig Duncan, Suzuki Violin School: Violin Part, vol. 1 (Suzuki Violin School, Violin Part) by Shinichi Suzuki and The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner: Violin, Book 1 by Janice Tucker Rhoda, just to get you started. There are mixed reviews for Violin For Dummies. Some say it’s great with easy to follow instructions and methods for beginner to advanced violinist. Others say it is a waste of money and there are better instructional books out there. You’ll have to decide for yourself on this one. You can always sell it back on ebay!

Learn Violin DVDs
Here are some well reviewed learn violin dvds: The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner by Janice Tucker Rhoda, Mel Bay Anyone Can Play Violin by Coral White, and Violin Lessons - AMP - Introductory Beginner DVD with Fingering Tapes, Introduction to Violin DVD by Jim Tolles. The first one above, The ABCs of Violin is one of the favorites among beginners. Even violin teachers have recommended this DVD to their students as an accompaniment to their private lessons. Lots of techniques covered in detail with excellent video to learn violin.

For additional resources, I recommend you go to learn violin where they have additional elessons as well as some free violin videos that teach a variety of lessons.

Violin Lessons for Beginners to Advanced Violinists

Thinking of getting violin lessons? We’ve summarized some of your options and what’s available both online and offline.
Private Violin Lessons

If you want to find a violin teacher in your local area, there is a site called Private Lessons that can help find you one.  Start off by choosing violin under the instrument list, then enter your city or zipcode. Enter a larger city nearby to get the most results if you don’t get many with your city.  You can see instructor’s resumes and contact them if you want more information.  I also like some video on youtube.  Similar way of searching by city and gives teachers’ education, awards received, lesson details, rates, hours lessons are offered and a bio/personal statement from each teacher. You can also contact each teacher as well.

If you do not find what you are looking for on either of these sites, then type with quotes, “your city violin lessons” into Google Search. Obviously, replace your city with your city’s name, for example enter “Chicago violin lessons”. If you don’t get many results, then you might need to go broader, with a bigger nearby city or even by putting in your state’s name. Try first with the quotes, which only brings back results with that phrase in that order, but you could also try without the quotes to bring additional related results. You just might have to spend a little more time sifting through the sites to find what you’re looking for.

Free Violin Lessons Online

There are a few online violin lessons that are worth mentioning. If you are looking for free lessons, you can’t be as picky as when you are looking for paid lessons, but nonetheless, they’re out there. We have searched around and found some sites that offer free violin lessons for beginners without any catches.

I would definitely check out Professor Todd Ehle’s free violin video series on YouTube. He has been teaching violin for many years and offers many detailed lessons in these violin videos, everything from how to hold your violin and bow to more advanced  bowing techniques. Click the link above to see his entire video collection. Here’s one sample on string crossing, part 1:

Learning Violin offers both free and paid lessons. If you click on the free video lessons on the navigation, it will take you to a page which has free video lessons on tuning, posture, bow grip and 3 bowing lessons.

The Violin Site also offers free lessons with written instructions and videos. If you go to their page for violin practicing you will see lessons separated into bow arm violin exercises such as detaché, collé, martellé, staccato, sautillé, ricochét and chords and left hand violin exercises such as shifting, tuning, 3 octave scales, arpeggios, thirds, octaves, fingered octaves, tenths and vibrato.

We here at site are continually adding to our free information of lessons as well. We search and try to find valuable information and videos that demonstrate violin techniques and will offer written instruction as well.
Online Violin Video Lessons (Fee)

As far as online violin lessons that you have to pay for, there’s a few that are worth trying out and all give money-back guarantees if you don’t agree.

There are many favorable reviews of  Violin Master Pro. Eric Lewis is a world-renown violinist and offers a complete violin lesson package with 100s of videos, mp3s to train and play along with plus an ongoing membership to all updates and features.  It includes both beginner and advanced techniques. Includes a 56-day, no-questions asked, guarantee for you to try out.

The Academy of Music Performance (AMP) offers beginner and intermediate DVDs at, but unlike Violin Master Pro, they are not instantly downloadable, are significantly more expensive and don’t include continued updates and new videos without additional payment. I would say though that the instruction is just as good. It’s up to you. Check them both out.